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Minn. bills would ban lead wheel weights

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(Tire Business file photo)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 7, 2014) — Bills to prohibit the use  of lead wheel balancing weights in Minnesotawere introduced Feb. 27 into the state House and Senate.

So far there has been no activity on either HF 2542 or SF 2192, according to the website of the Minnesota legislature.

This is the second time a bill to ban lead wheel weights has been introduced in Minnesota, according to Gregory Parker, marketing manager for Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based wheel weight manufacturer Wegmann Automotive USA Inc. Wegmann changed its name Jan. 1 from Perfect Equipment Inc., but still uses the Perfect Equipment brand name for its products.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Parker Gregory Parker, marketing manager for Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based wheel weight manufacturer Wegmann Automotive USA Inc.

If the legislature passes the identical bills, Minnesota will become the seventh state to ban lead wheel weights completely, according to Mr. Parker. California, Maine, Vermont, Illinois, New York and Washington State have banned lead weights, and Minnesota already forbids them on state-owned vehicles, he said.

Legislatures in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan have all considered lead wheel weight bans, but the bills in those states — like the first bill introduced in Minnesota — never made it out of committee, Mr. Parker said.

HF 2542 and SF 3192 are unusual in that the bills would ban both lead and mercury wheel weights, and that language is attached at the end of larger bills banning mercury in thermostats and thermometers, according to Mr. Parker.  “They may need to separate out the wheel-weight language,” he told Tire Business.

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To reach this reporter: mmoore@crain.com.

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